When Hindustan Unilever's Kan Khajura Tesan, or centipede station, won three golds at the Cannes advertising festival in June this year, it threw the spotlight not just on the consumer goods maker but also on a little-known company called Ozonetel Systems that provides cloud communication services to power the radio channel. Ozonetel Founder C.S.N. Murthy spoke to BUSINESS TODAY about the unique marketing strategy and how his service is finding more takers. Edited excerpts of the interview:
Q. How did you get involved with HUL and how did the strategy evolve?
A. HUL floated a request for proposal (RFP is like a tender), seeking participation of various technology vendors. We competed and got involved. They had the concept ready and tried a few things and wanted large-scale reach of at least 10 million bottom-of-pyramid consumers. If someone were to invest in technology in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar or Jharkhand, it originally required a lot of capital expenditure to reach segments that print and even FM radio could not reach in the Hindi-speaking belt. Hence, HUL's requirement was to have a solution with a capability to handle 10,000 calls at a single time. Ozonetel got the highest rating in the evaluation in our proposal for cloud-based option and we signed with them on April 1, 2014. KKT offers an 18-minute entertainment module comprising Bollywood songs per week. The content is broken into 20 capsules - which means a Bollywood song followed by an HUL advertisement. The complete programme has a radio jockey speaking as they would when we hear them on FM channels. The content is refreshed every Monday. The users need to give a missed call on a phone number - where they get a call back with 18 minutes of entertainment every week. The 18 minutes can be used at one time or over the week. If a caller disconnects midway, when they call next the platform is intelligently built to start from where the caller left at the previous time.
Q. How has Ozonetel benefited or grown post this Cannes win?
A. Awareness about Ozonetel has increased since the curious have been keen to know the mobile radio KKT operates, though the platform's potential is yet not understood by marketers. Yes, the platform being CaaS (Communications as a Service) results in capital saving and it requires no manpower to manage it - but the value of using Ozonetel is way more than cost saving. For instance, KKT for HUL has 25 lakh callers tuning in every month. Our target is to have 100 lakh callers every month. The biggest advantage is that HUL has managed to achieve 40 per cent cost saving and has had 15 per cent increase in brand awareness in the first month itself. Our platform shares intelligent analytics, which are actionable in nature. Now, the platform is capable of helping enterprises to achieve their business goals in marketing campaigns, sales and support functions. Enterprises can manage the lifecycle of customer communication seamlessly across marketing, sales, support and loyalty phases. The latest at our end is that we have been building interactive features on the platform which we will announce in time. With proven success of KKT, the south-east market has opened for us. We will make an announcement soon.
Q. How are some of your other clients using your service?
A. There is a lot of diversity in the way our system can be deployed. For instance, TaxiForSure finds our system useful as their drivers' mobiles are on our platform and they can be reached automatically via a missed call that, otherwise, would work to be very expensive if they were to set up a typical call centre or an interactive-voice-response system. The company has a means of tracking how many of those missed calls were taken and what was the rush time when they need to deploy more people. Agarwal Packers and Movers has been using our platform since 2012 and have seen a 40 per cent increase in revenue as this has enabled them to take intelligent marketing decisions as well. We also have bigbasket.com, which has found this useful to reach out to people who want to order groceries.
Q. How does cloud communication work and how is it cheaper?
A. If call centre agents want to take a consumer call, they can open a laptop out of their home and log on to cloud and a mobile number is registered. Hence, it does not require any big equipment, or for that matter, even an office. People can opt to become part-time agents and take this job up and sit anywhere. I have moved all my call centre agents from Bangalore and Mumbai to smaller towns and rural areas and there is a straight 70 per cent saving there. We also partner with Rural Shores and have created employment in villages to handle calls. This way I can distribute my service across India and I am now able to offer seven languages, three more will be added. In short, cloud should give resources on demand basis, scale up or down based on need. At the same, this should be affordable on a rental basis. We have set up presence in 12 cities and will be expanding to 20 by end of the year.